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Current Affairs (April 02nd - 08th, 2018)

    International:
  • China announces new tariffs on US meat and fruit amid trade war fears
    Current Affairs China has said, it is rolling out new tariffs on US meat, fruit and other products as retaliation against taxes approved by US President Donald Trump on imported steel and aluminum.

    The Chinese Finance Ministry said in a statement that the new tariffs come into effect from 1st April.

    The announcement follows warnings Chinese officials have made for several weeks in an escalating trade dispute with the United States.

  • Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) in US terminated
    US President Donald Trump has declared as "dead" a program that protects immigrants brought to the United States illegally as children and pressed Congress to immediately pass legislation to secure the US border with Mexico.

    Donald Trump, who has taken a hard line toward immigration, said in September he would terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program introduced by his Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama, but gave the Republican-controlled Congress until March 6 to replace it.

    Congress failed to meet that deadline, but courts have ruled the program can remain in place for now.

    Legislation was being prepared aimed at helping expedite some deportations of immigrants in the country illegally.

    They did not provide a timetable for submitting it to Congress and did not say whether provisions to help DACA recipients would be included.

    The United States is renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement with Mexico and Canada

  • US adds Hafiz Saeed's political front Milli Muslim League to terrorist list
    In a big blow to the mastermind of 26/11 Mumbai terror attack, the US has designated the Milli Muslim League, the political front of Pakistan-based Mumbai attack mastermind-led Jamaat-ud Dawa, as a foreign terrorist organisation. The MML is an alias of Lashkar-e-Taiba also.

    The US also added Tehreek-e-Azadi-e-Kashmir (TAJK) to the list of terrorist groups. Tehreek-e-Azadi-e-Kashmir is said to be a front of the LeT, which according to the Trump administration, continues to operate, without any restrictions in Pakistan.

    The State Department said the move was aimed at denying the LeT resources it needs to plan and carry out further terrorist attacks.

    The move comes a day after the Election Commission of Pakistan asked the MML to produce a clearance certificate by the interior ministry for its registration as a political party. General elections are scheduled to be held in Pakistan in July.

    The JuD was designated by the Department of State as an alias of the LeT pursuant April 2016 and was added to the United Nations Sanctions list as an alias of the LeT in December 2008.

    The JuD is believed to be the front organisation for the LeT which is responsible for carrying out the Mumbai attack that killed 166 people, including six Americans. It was declared as an FTO by the US in June 2014.

  • United Nations Security Council (UNSC) identified 139 Pakistani terrorist individuals and entities in global list
    The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has identified 139 Pakistani terrorist individuals and entities who have lived in Pakistan, operated from there or have been associated with groups that used Pakistani territory for carrying out their operations.

    In its consolidated list updated on 3rd April, UNSC named Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and its chief Hafiz Saeed, Osama bin Laden’s heir apparent and Al Qaeda’s Ayman al-Zawahiri, Harkatul Mujahideen, Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan and others.

    Hafiz Saeed is also listed as a person wanted by Interpol for his involvement in terrorist activities.

    The list also includes Dawood Ibrahim, an Indian national who, according to the UN Security Council, has held several Pakistani passports issued in Rawalpindi and Karachi. The UN claims that he owns a palatial bungalow in the hilly area of Noorabad, Karachi.

  • United States proposes $50 billion tariffs on 1,300 Chinese products
    The United States on 4th April announced a proposed list of products imported from China that could be subject to additional tariffs of 25 per cent amounting to USD 50 billion.

    The US Trade Representative (USTR) said the proposed list of products is based on extensive interagency economic analysis and would target products that benefit from China's industrial plans while minimizing the impact on the US economy.

    Sectors subject to the proposed tariffs include industries such as aerospace, information and communication technology, robotics, and machinery.

    The list covers approximately 1,300 separate tariff lines and will undergo further review in a public notice and comment process, including a hearing. After completion of this process, the USTR will issue a final determination on the products subject to the additional duties.

    The total value of imports subject to the tariff increase is commensurate with an economic analysis of the harm caused by China's unreasonable technology transfer policies to the US economy, the USTR said.

    China had said on 3rd April that its door for talks with the Donald Trump administration is open but if there is a trade war it will "fight till the end". The comments came a day after Beijing imposed tariffs on 128 American products as retaliation against US duties on steel and aluminium.

    China had imposed tariffs on 128 US imports worth USD 3 billion, including meat, fruit and pork, as retaliation against taxes approved by US President Donald Trump on imported steel and aluminium.

    Last month, Donald Trump announced that the US will impose tariffs on approximately USD 50 billion worth of Chinese imports and take other actions in response to China's policies that coerce American companies into transferring their technology and intellectual property to domestic Chinese enterprises.

    These policies bolster China's stated intention of seizing economic leadership in advanced technology as set forth in its industrial plans, such as "Made in China 2025".

    Trump raked up the issue of trade gap with China once again, saying the US cannot afford to have a USD 500 billion a year trade deficit with Beijing.

    However several industry groups were quick to oppose Trump's proposal to impose tariff on some 1300 selected Chinese products.

  • Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) meet in Azerbaijan
    India once again raised the issue of menace of terror and underlined the importance of tackling the scourge at the international stage.

    External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj while addressing the 18th mid-term ministerial meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement in Azerbaijan's capital Baku said terrorism is one of the foremost threats to international peace and security as it maims and kills innocent citizens. She said that terrorism severely undermines the ability of nations to attain development goals. She rued the fact the words have not been matched by action as far as efforts to combat terrorism go.

    External Affairs Minister said that while the global community is engaged in serious discussion on the need to tackle environmental imbalance and protecting the environment, India has gone ahead and forged International Solar Alliance with France. Already more than 60 countries have joined alliance to promote greater use of solar energy.

    India decided to increase its contribution to the UNRWA budget from USD 1 million to USD 5 million. The global challenges including nuclear escalation, armed conflicts, refugee flows, terrorism, poverty and worsening environmental degradation require more effective joint efforts.

    Genuine global partnerships have to be forged if the SDGs are to be achieved. Financing for Development is, therefore, of utmost importance to NAM countries.

    The Minister said, NAM has been a votary of universal, non-discriminatory and verifiable nuclear disarmament and of pursuit of that goal through multilateralism and that India remains committed to the shared goal of the global elimination of nuclear weapons.

    External Affairs Minister also signed two documents with Azerbaijan, on visa waiver for diplomatic, official and service passports holders and cooperation between diplomatic training institutes. A day earlier she met the foreign minister of Venezeula and discussed important bilateral relations.

  • US imposes sanctions on Putin's oligarch allies
    United States on 6th April imposed new sanctions on Russian oligarchs, including President Vladimir Putin's son-in-law, and several entities accused of supporting and profiting from the Russian government's efforts to undermine western democracies.

    The measures announced by the Treasury Department were also aimed at 17 senior Russian government officials.

    The state-owned Russian weapons trading company, Rosoboron Export, which has long-standing ties to Syria and its subsidiary, Russian Financial Corporation Bank were also targeted under new sanctions.

    CNN said, the fresh sanctions are the latest step by the US against Russia following the poisoning of a former Russian spy in England, interference in the US 2016 election and a cyber attack.

  • Facebook says up to 2.7 million EU users affected by data leak
    The European Union says that Facebook has told it that up to 2.7 million people in the 28-nation bloc may have been victim of improper data sharing involving political data-mining firm Cambridge Analytica.

    The EU and Facebook will be looking at what changes the social media giant needs to make to better protect users and how the US company must adapt to new EU data protection rules.

    National:
  • Government moots regulator, information exchanges for digital health data
    Current Affairs Healthcare in India is digitising rapidly with the government’s eHealth initiative, which seeks to bring medical records, services and research online.

    But, with the debate around data security heating up in the absence of an overarching data protection law, the government recently released a draft Bill termed Digital Information Security in Healthcare (DISHA) Bill, which seeks to give powers to citizens about their health data and pushes for penalties on breach and misuse of this information.

    The Bill proposes rights such as mandatory consent for collection, storage, and sharing their health data, including the right to withdraw consent at any time. Following this, the data will be deleted or made anonymous after removing personal identifiers.

    The Bill is an initiative to introduce data security and set standards for sharing data, which is expected to help the government in many ways such as research, easier transfers of patients between healthcare facilities, storing medical records, and an early detection of public health emergencies.

    The government has started creating Health Management Information Systems with state governments as part of the National Rural Health Mission of 2005.

    The government has proposed creating health information exchanges, which will be responsible for storing health data, apart from clinical establishments. These exchanges will supply information to hospitals, insurance companies and the government.

    The rationale behind the move is to track diseases better and also make sure that outbreaks are controlled, said Srinath Reddy, president, Public Health Foundation of India.

    New regulator
    The government has also proposed setting up the National Electronic Health Authority, which will be the overarching body to set standards on storage, transmission and encryption of information. Clinical establishments will conform to these standards to transmit health data to information exchanges and they will be allowed to keep a copy of their data for “reasonable use”, according to the draft Bill.

  • Centre will file a review petition in the Supreme Court over its recent ruling on SC/ST Act
    The Centre will file a review petition in the Supreme Court over its recent ruling on Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989.

    Recently, in its order, the Supreme Court had introduced the provision of anticipatory bail in the Act while directing that there will be no automatic arrest on any complaint filed under the law.

    Earlier, Social Justice and Empowerment Minister, Thaawarchand Gehlot had said the Central government is committed to the welfare of the SCs and STs in the country.

  • Centre moves Supreme Court with review petition against verdict on SC/ST Act
    Centre on 2nd April moved Supreme Court seeking review of its recent judgement by which safeguards were put on arrest under SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989. Government's plea seeks restoration of the Act provisions that made certain offences cognizable and non-bailable.

    Meanwhile, the Apex Court on 2nd April declined an urgent hearing on another similar plea filed by All India Federation of SC/ST organisations.

    The petitioners have also sought a stay and review of its recent verdict on SC/ST Act by which certain safeguards were put in place on automatic arrest of individuals. A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud said that the petition will be heard in due course of time.

    Advocate Manoj Gaurkella, appearing for the federation said that the recent verdict passed by the apex court on March 20 was unfair and unjust and it should be stayed.

    The apex court had on March 20 said that on several occasions, innocent citizens were being termed as accused and public servants deterred from performing their duties, which was never the intention of the legislature while enacting the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

    The top court had said that unless the exclusion of anticipatory bail is limited to genuine cases and inapplicable to cases where there is no prima facie case was made out, there will be no protection available to innocent citizens.

    It had said that in view of the acknowledged abuse of law of arrest in cases under the Atrocities Act, arrest of a public servant can only be after approval of the appointing authority and of a non-public servant after approval by the Senior Superintendent of Police which may be granted in appropriate cases if considered necessary for reasons recorded.

  • HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar has released the NIRF INDIA RANKINGS 2018 for Higher Educational Institutions
    Human Resources Minister Prakash Javadekar on 3rd April released INDIA RANKINGS 2018 for Higher Educational Institutions and presented awards to the institutions under the National Institutional Ranking Framework, NIRF.

    The aim is also encourage competition to perform better and set up new benchmarks of performance in higher education space. The Minister said that to promote quality education, Government is providing support for setting up and upgrading of 10 public and 10 private Institutions of Eminence so as to enable them to reach amongst top 100 of world institutions ranking.

    He said, the list of 20 Institutions of Eminence will be released soon. The Minister further said that various initiatives of the Ministry like GIAN, RUSA, SWAYAM, SWAYAM Prabha, TEQUIP III, Smart India Hackathon are in direction to further boost the Quality, Research and Innovation in education.

    The Indian Institute of Science (IISC) in Bengaluru was adjudged the overall best institution in the country. Indian Institute of Technology, Madras has been adjudged the best engineering college and the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad the best management institution. Delhi University’s Miranda House was the best college and National Law School of India University Bengaluru the best law school in the country.

    AIIMS New Delhi, PGIMER Chandigarh and CMC Vellore were ranked as the top three medical colleges. In the university category, IISc stood first, followed by Jawaharlal Nehru University and Banaras Hindu University.

    National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research, Mohali topped in pharmacy institutions and IIT Kharagpur topped in Architechture In this third edition of India Rankings, a total of 2809 institutions participated in 9 categories.

  • SC/ST Act ruling: Supreme Court refuses to stay order
    The Supreme Court has refused to stay its March 20 verdict banning automatic arrest and registration of cases under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

    The division bench of Justices Adarsh Kumar Goel and Uday Umesh Lalit, however, said that it will consider the Centre's review petition for detailed hearing.

    It said the matter is listed after ten days and asked all parties in the case to file their written submissions within stipulated time. The government had on 2nd April filed a review petition seeking review of the court's order.

    The Supreme Court, while hearing the submissions by the Attorney-General (AG), KK Venugopal, observed, that people who are agitating have not read the verdict properly and have been misled by vested interests. The bench said that they have not diluted any provision of SC/ST Act and only safeguarded interest of innocents from being arrested.

    The apex court pointed out that there is no anticipatory bail or there is no forum for a person accused under the act to seek any relief, in the case. It said that provisions of SC/ST Act cannot be used to terrorise the innocents.

  • Maharashtra government provides one percent reservation for orphans in education and jobs
    The Maharashtra government has provided one per cent reservation for orphans in education and jobs. A senior official said, the state cabinet had taken the decision in January, but the necessary government resolution was issued on 2nd April. According to the resolution, reservation is applicable to all state-level recruitments, across all levels from Class I to IV.

    The persons who cannot trace their parents or any relative and do not know their caste will be eligible for the reservation. They should have the orphan certificate issued by the state government.

  • Cabinet approves Protection of Human Rights (Amendments) Bill
    The Cabinet on 4th April approved the Protection of Human Rights (Amendments) Bill, 2018 for better protection and promotion of human rights in the country. The Bill proposes to include National Commission for Protection of Child Rights as deemed Member of the Commission. It proposes to add a woman Member in the composition of the Commission.

    The Bill also proposes to incorporate a mechanism to look after the cases of human rights violation in the Union Territories. The Amendment will strengthen the Human Rights Institutions of India further for the effective discharge of their mandates, roles and responsibilities.

    The amended Act will be in perfect sync with the agreed global standards and benchmarks towards ensuring the rights relating to life, liberty, equality and dignity of the individual in the country.

  • Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has instituted a committee to regulate online portals
    The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has instituted a committee to regulate online portals, including news websites, entertainment sites and media aggregators.

    The 10-member committee, formed on 4th April, will include secretaries of the departments of Home, Legal Affairs, Electronics and Information and Technology, and Industrial Policy and Promotion.

    The CEO of MyGov and a representative each of the Press Council of India and National Broadcasters’ Association will also be part of the committee.

    In its order, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting noted that both print and electronic media are regulated but online media does not come under any regulatory mechanism.

    The content telecast on television channels are regulated in terms of the programme and advertisement codes under the Cable Television Networks Rules, 1994. Similarly, the autonomous body Press Council of India regulates the print media.

    The committee, broadly, will look at three things. One is to bring online information dissemination under regulation. Second is to propose a policy for foreign direct investment in this media. Third is to look at international best practices on such existing regulatory mechanism.

  • YSR Congress members resign from Lok Sabha, begin indefinite hunger strike
    Five YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) MPs on 6th April submitted their resignations to the Speaker of the Lok Sabha in protest against Andhra Pradesh not being accorded special category status (SCS).

    The YSRCP had also earlier announced that its next step will be to conduct protests in the coming days in New Delhi till its demand is met.

    The five lawmakers who resigned are V. Vara Prasada Rao, Y. V. Subba Reddy, P. V. Midhun Reddy, Y. S. Avinash Reddy and Mekapati Rajamohan Reddy.

    On 31 March, YSRCP chief Y. S. Jagan Mohan Reddy had announced that his party MPs will resign on the last day or Parliament’s ongoing session and would sit on an indefinite hunger strike at Andhra Bhavan in the national capital to mount pressure on the centre to grant Andhra Pradesh SCS.

    YSRCP chief had also stated that his party cadre will conduct relay hunger strikes in every village, mandal and assembly constituency levels across state demanding the same.

    Bilateral:
  • India, Japan and the US held the 9th trilateral meeting in New Delhi
    Current Affairs India, Japan and the United States held the 9th trilateral meeting at Joint Secretary, Director General, Assistant Secretary level in New Delhi on 4th April to hold consultations on regional and global issues of mutual interest.

    In accordance with the directions received from their Foreign Ministers, who met in New York on 18 September last year on the margins of United Nations General Assembly, the officials explored practical steps to enhance cooperation in different areas.

    The areas include connectivity and infrastructure development, counter-proliferation, counter-terrorism, maritime security, maritime domain awareness and Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief.

    The officials reviewed the outcomes of the Trilateral Infrastructure Working Group that met in Washington in February and agreed to continue to collaborate to promote increased connectivity in the Indo-Pacific.

    All sides agreed to remain engaged and strengthen cooperation in support for a free, open, prosperous, peaceful and inclusive Indo-Pacific region through partnership with countries in the region.

  • Trial run of the first container train between India and Bangladesh was flagged off from Kolkata city
    The trial run of the first container train between India and Bangladesh was flagged off from Kolkata city on 4th April

    The train left for Bangladesh with 60 containers loaded with almost 1,200 tonnes of de-oiled cake, used as a raw material for animal feed. It will pass through Sealdah, Naihati, Ranaghat and Gede in India and Darsana and Ishurdi in Bangladesh before reaching Bangabandhu West station, 117 kilometres off capital city of Dhaka.

    General Manager of Eastern Railway Zone, Harindra Rao, said the train would make customs procedures easier and deliver consignments before sunset. Reportedly, exporters' forums had been lobbying for container trains to help them save time and significantly cut costs. The frequency of the train will be finalized based on demand.

    Currently, the trade between India and Bangladesh is largely road-based. Reportedly, it takes almost a month for an Indian truck to reach Bangladesh through the congested Petrapole-Benapole border, with customs clearance alone taking nearly 25 days. The train is also likely to resolve the capacity constraints of sea and land routes.

  • SAHYOG- HYEOBLYEOG 2018: Indian, Korean coast guards hold joint exercise off Chennai coast
    Indo-Korean joint anti-piracy, search and rescue exercise 'SAHYOG- HYEOBLYEOG 2018' was conducted off the Chennai coast on 5th April. The Korean Coast Guard ship 'BADARO' took part in the exercise. Indian Coast Guard ships and an aircraft also took part in it.

    An official release said, as part of the exercise, ships of the Indian Coast Guard and the Korean vessel undertook tactical manoeuvres and drills to counter piracy and carry out maritime law enforcement tasks off Chennai coast.

    Indian Coast Guard deployed a Dornier aircraft to carry out sea-air coordinated search along with ICG Shaurya, Rani Abbakka, C-423, C-431 in the exercise.

    The mission of the joint exercise is to develop working level co-operation and enhance inter-operability in the fields of maritime search and rescue, anti-piracy operations.

  • India and Nepal have agreed to further strengthen bilateral relations
    India and Nepal have agreed to further strengthen bilateral relations in key areas of border security, connectivity, trade and agriculture. The two countries agreed to develop inland waterways for overall economic development of the region.

    Aiming to expand cross-border rail linkages, the two sides have also decided to construct a new electrified rail line, with India’s financial support.

    The rail line will connect the border city of Raxaul in India to Kathmandu in Nepal. India will also help Nepal in the field of agriculture through organic farming, soil testing and education in farming The decisions were announced in a joint statement issued after the delegation level talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and visiting Nepalese Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli

    In a joint media briefing after the talks, Mr Modi assured his Nepalese counterpart that India remains committed to strengthening its partnership with Nepal.

    He said, India would like to improve waterways and rail connectivity with Nepal and it has agreed to work towards a new railway line to connect Kathmandu. Mr Modi said, the two countries have strong relations in the area of security and are committed towards stopping misuse of open borders.

    The Prime Minister said, there is a long history of India's contribution in Nepal's development and assured that it will continue in future. Prime Minister Oli stated that his government attaches high importance to further strengthening friendly relations with India.

  • Indian President Ram Nath Kovind on three nation tour of African Countries including Swaziland and Zambia
    (India President, Ram Nath Kovind, African countries, Swaziland, Zambia)

    Indian President Ram Nath Kovind leaves for Equatorial Guinea on 7th April on a three-nation tour of African countries including Swaziland and Zambia.

    The President is accompanied by Union Minister of State for Road Transport, Highways & Shipping Mansukh Mandavia and four Members of Parliament.

    The visit would further deepen India's relation with the African nations. In Equatorial Guinea, President will address its Parliament after meeting his counterpart. Besides holding delegation-level talks President Ran Nath Kovind will also address the Indian community.

    In Swaziland, President will jointly inaugurate the Information Technology Centre located in the Royal Science and Technology Park with the King of Swaziland. Besides addressing the business meet, President will hold delegation level talks in Zambia and also meet Dr Kenneth David Kaunda, first President of Zambia.

    Economy:
  • E-Way Bill for Inter-State movement of goods comes into force
    Current Affairs With the beginning of the financial year 2018-19, the e-way Bill System for Inter-State movement of goods comes into force; An E-way Bill will be required for moving goods worth over 50,000 rupees from one state to another.

    The electronic way Bill system has come into effect across the country. Under this system businesses and transporters have to produce before a GST inspector e-way bill for moving goods worth over Rs 50,000 from one state to another.

    The Bill is touted as an anti-evasion measure that would help boost tax collections by clamping down on trade that currently happens on cash basis. The e-way Bill will apply to inter-state transportation of goods worth over Rs. 50,000.

  • India replaces Vietnam to become second largest producer of mobile phones
    India is now the second-largest mobile phone producer in the world after China. According to the data shared by Indian Cellular Association with the government, annual production of mobile phones in India increased from 3 million units in 2014 to 11 million units in 2017.

    With this, India replaced Vietnam to become the second largest producer of mobile phones in 2017. With the rise in mobile phone production, imports of the devices in the country also reduced to less than half in 2017-18.

  • Core sector growth up 5.3 per cent in February
    Eight infrastructure sectors grew by 5.3 per cent in February, mainly helped by a robust performance of refinery products, fertiliser and cement segments.

    The eight infrastructure sectors, coal, crude oil, natural gas, refinery products, fertilisers, steel, cement and electricity had grown by just 0.6 per cent in February 2017. The core sectors expanded by 6.1 per cent in January.

  • China increases tariffs on 128 US goods by up to 25 percent
    China on 2nd April increased tariffs by up to 25 percent on 128 U S products, from frozen pork and wine to certain fruits and nuts in response to U S duties on imports of Aluminium and Steel.

    China said, the tariffs affecting some 3 billion US Dollars of imports was to safeguard China's interests and balance losses caused by new US tariffs.

    The Donald Trump administration had said its duties were aimed at Steel and Aluminium imports that it deemed a threat to US national security, but China's Commerce Ministry called that reasoning an abuse of World Trade Organization guidelines.

  • Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu launches digital initiatives for ease of exports
    Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu on 3rd April launched digital initiatives for ease of exports. Speaking on the occasion in New Delhi, Mr Suresh Prabhu said, this is a major step towards digital India in export trade ushering in efficient assessment, quality monitoring and traceability.

    Under the digital initiatives for ease of export, the Minister launched three integrated digital portals, namely Safe Food Export Traceability Portal, One Laboratory One Assessment Portal and Monitoring Export Alerts Portal.

    Mr Suresh Prabhu said, the portals will brought together all regulators, accreditation bodies and other stakeholders at one place. He said, tracing safe food is utmost important for providing quality assurance both to the consumers and the authorities.

  • Direct tax collections grow 17 percent to Rs 9.95 lakh crores in 2017-18
    The Direct Tax collections for the fiscal year 2017-18 stood at 9(point) 95 lakh crore rupees, which is 17(point)1 per cent higher than net collection of 2016-17.

    The tax collections during the fiscal year 2017-18 has exceeded the budget estimates of 9.80 lakh crore rupees.

    Giving more details on direct tax collection, Central Board of Direct Taxes, Chairman Sushil Chandra said, during the last fiscal, 6.84 crore income tax returns were filed as compared to 5.43 crore returns filed in 2016-17 showing a growth of 26 per cent.

  • Central Government Cabinet decisions
    Rightsizing the Competition Commission of India (CCI)
    Union Cabinet approved rightsizing the Competition Commission of India (CCI) from One Chairperson and Six Members to One Chairperson and three Members. The reduction of three Posts in the Commission is expected to boost the Minimum Government - Maximum Governance.
    Transfer of administrative control of Hemisphere Properties India to the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MOHUA)
    Cabinet has also approved the transfer of administrative control of Hemisphere Properties India to the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) after infusion of equity amounting to Rs. 700 crore
    Protection of Human Rights (Amendments) Bill, 2018
    It has also approved the Protection of Human Rights (Amendments) Bill, 2018 for better protection and promotion of human rights in the country. The Amendment will strengthen the Human Rights Institutions of India further for effective discharge of their mandates, roles and responsibilities.

  • Reserve Bank of India (RBI) keeps repo rate unchanged
    The RBI has kept all its key rates unchanged in the first bi-monthly policy review for the financial year 2018-19 for the fourth time in a row.

    The Monetary Policy Committee, MPC, headed by RBI Governor Urjit Patel kept the repo rate at which the central bank lends short-term money to other banks at 6 per cent. The reverse repo, rate at which it borrows from banks and absorbs excess liquidity, will remain at 5.75 per cent.

    The status quo policy of RBI will be neutral to the EMIs for housing and vehicle loan borrowers, but banks are free to tinker with both deposit and lending rate depending on their asset liability position.

    RBI Governor Urjit Patel said there are several uncertainties surrounding the baseline inflation path.

    These include the impact of revised formula for Minimum Support Price (MSP) for kharif crops, house rent allowance revisions by various state governments, fiscal slippages and volatility in crude oil prices.

    RBI has said that overall food inflation should remain under check on the assumption of a normal monsoon and effective supply management by the Government.

    The RBI has said that GDP growth is likely to strengthen from 6.6 per cent in 2017-18 to 7.4 per cent in 2018-19 as there are clear signs of revival in investment activity and improvement in global demand.

  • Reserve Bank of India, RBI has decided to set up Data Sciences Lab
    Reserve Bank of India, RBI has decided to set up Data Sciences Lab to improve its forecasting, surveillance and early warning detection abilities which will aid policy formulation. According to RBI, Policy making not only benefits from data collected through regulatory returns and surveys but also from large volumes of structured and unstructured real-time information.

    RBI said the lab will comprise experts and budding analysts, who are trained in Computer Science, Data Analytics, Statistics, Economics, Econometrics and Finance. The unit is likely to become operational by December this year (2018).

    Meanwhile, the RBI has deferred the implementation of the Indian Accounting Standards by one year as many banks are not prepared to migrate to the new accounting system.

  • Centre, Maharashtra Government and World Bank sign $ 420 mn project to help farmers
    The Centre, Maharashtra Government and World Bank on 6th April signed a 420 million dollar project to help small and marginals farmers in the Marathwada and Vidarbha region of the State.

    The project will help in increasing climate resilient practices in agriculture and ensuring that farming continues to remain a financially viable activity for them.

    It said, the Maharashtra Project for Climate Resilient Agriculture will be implemented in rural areas largely dependent upon rain fed agriculture. The project will take up a series of activities at the farm and watershed level.

    According to the Joint Secretary, in the finance Ministry Sameer Kumar Khare said, the Centre accords high priority to welfare of farmers and is implementing several schemes to revitalize the agriculture sector and improve the economic condition of farmers.

  • Reserve Bank of India (RBI) ruling to bar banks from dealing in cryptocurrencies
    The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) ruling to bar banks from dealing in cryptocurrencies has panicked investors, who are now selling their virtual currencies stored in Bitcoin exchanges and seeking advice from the experts.

    The investors, who are clueless about the quantum of tax and fear a crackdown by tax authorities, rush has led to a spike in transaction volumes of around 40 percent, with about 90 per cent of that being on the sell side, on Bitcoin exchanges such as Coinsecure and Zebpay.

    Science and Technology:
  • ISRO making relentless effort to establish contact with GSAT-6A Communication Satellite
    Current Affairs ISRO is making relentless effort to establish contact with GSAT-6A communication satellite after the Master Control facility in Hassan lost contact with it since 1st April. The organisation is yet to ascertain the reason for the failure to communicate with the satellite.

    It is said that both the orbit raising manoeuvres were precise but the satellite suddenly stopped communication. GSAT-6A satellite was successfully launched by GSLV-F08 launch vehicle 29th March from Sriharikota.

    Sports:
  • John Isner lifts Men's Singles Tennis trophy of Miami Open
    Current Affairs In Tennis, John Isner has lifted the Men's Singles trophy of the Miami Open. In the title clash, the 14th seeded American defeated fourth-placed German Alexander Zverev, to win his first ever Masters 1,000 title.

  • Kerala have lifted their sixth Santosh Trophy Football title
    Kerala have lifted their sixth Santosh Trophy Football title. In a thrilling final at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata on 1st April, they held their nerves to beat defending champions and 32-time winners Bengal via penalty shootout.

  • India’s Ankita Raina, Ramkumar Ramanathan have achieved their career-best tennis rankings in Singles
    India's Ankita Raina and Ramkumar Ramanathan have achieved their career-best tennis rankings in Singles. In the Womens Tennis Association (WTA) chart, Ankita leapfrogged 43 places to reach the 212th spot, while in the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) rankings Ramkumar Ramanathan became world No. 132, after climbing four places.

    Ankita Raina moved up on the back of her first singles title in more than three years when she beat Amandine Hesse in straight sets in the final of the 25,000 US Dollar International Tennis Federation (ITF) women's event in Gwalior.

    In the ATP rankings, the country's top singles player Yuki Bhambri jumped two places and is now ranked 105. He is followed by Ramanathan at the 132nd spot and Sumit Nagal at the 213 position. Prajnesh Gunseswaran is ranked 263 and Arjun Khade is at 394th spot.

    In the doubles, Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan have gained one spot each. Bopanna is ranked 19th and Divij Sharan is ranked 43rd. Leander Paes remained unchanged at 45. He was followed by Purav Raja in the 62nd position.

    In the WTA rankings, Karman Kaur Thandi was the next best player singles after Ankita Raina. She remains unchanged at 273, after Ankita Raina. In women's doubles, out of action Sania Mirza moved down seven places to number 23, her lowest rank in seven years.

  • Commonwealth Games 2018: The quadrennial sporting festival begins at Gold coast in Australia
    Commonwealth games begins at Gold coast in Australia on 4th April; India sends a strong contingent of 225 member for the games; Nation hopes of a record medal haul from the second largest contingent till date.

    The games will officially start from the 5th of April and will go on for the next ten days. This year's games will also mark the 5th time that Australia has hosted the games.

    India has won a total of 438 medals. At the 2010 edition in New Delhi -- the country's most successful campaign -- India finished second with a staggering 101 medals.

  • Australian boxer Taylah Robertson has become the first medalist of the 21st Commonwealth Games (CWG)
    Australian boxer Taylah Robertson has become the first medallist of the 21st Commonwealth Games without even stepping into the ring. She got a bye straight into the 51 kilogram category women's semifinals scheduled for April 13.

    The 19-year-old Robertson got what is called the lucky Bronze medal due to the small size of her draw. India have not fielded any boxer in the 51 kilogram category for women boxers.

  • India skipper Virat Kohli in second position in the latest ICC Test Player Rankings
    India skipper Virat Kohli holds on to his second position in the latest ICC Test Player Rankings released on 4th April. Test specialist Cheteshwar Pujara remains at seventh position. India Test spinner Ravichandran Ashwin slipped one place in the bowlers ranking to take the fifth position while Ravindra Jadeja holds on to his second spot in the all-rounders ranking.

    Australia's Steve Smith is comfortably placed at the top of the Test player ranking. South Africa opener Aiden Markram, sustained his surge towards the top during an amazing first year in Test cricket, making his way to ninth position among the batsmen ranking.

    The swapping of places has resulted in a clear gain of 100,000 US Dollars for New Zealand as they will now receive 200,000 US Dollars from ICC for taking the third spot on the cut-off date of 3rd April.

  • World champion weightlifter Saikhom Mirabai Chanu gave India its first Gold Medal at the 21st Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast
    World champion weightlifter Saikhom Mirabai Chanu gave India its first Gold Medal at the 21st Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast on 5th April. Earlier, India opened its medal account in the quadrennial extravaganza, when weightlifter P Gururaja claimed a silver medal in the men's 56kg category.

    Competing in the women's 48 kg division, Saikhom Mirabai Chanu went on a record-smashing spree, claiming three of them in a power-packed performance. The Indian ended with a total lift of 196 kg, earning a massive applause from the fans at the Carrara Sports and Leisure Centre.

    Earlier in the day, 25-year old Gururaja, making his Commonwealth Games debut, equalled his personal best and finished second in the men's 56kg for the Silver. Malaysia's Muhammad Zhar Ahmed won the Gold, while Sri Lanka's Lakmal Chaturanga took the Bronze in the event.

  • Indian weightlifters Sanjita Chanu, Deepak Lather won gold and bronze
    On the second day of the 21st Commonwealth Games at Gold Coast on 6th April, Weightlifters Sanjita Chanu and Deepak Lather added a gold and bronze to the team's tally. This raised India's total medal tally to four and earned them fifth place. India's total tally now comprises two gold, one silver and a bronze.

    Sanjita Chanu claimed a gold and a Games' snatch record in the 53 kg category, lifting a total of 192 kg. In men's section, Deepak Lather became the youngest Indian weightlifter to claim a CWG medal with his bronze in the 69 kg category.

    Australia with a haul of 36 medals, tops the tally followed by England, Canada and Scotland.

  • Weightlifter Venkat Rahul Ragala wins India’s fourth Gold medal at Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast
    Weightlifter Venkat Rahul Ragala claimed India's fourth Gold medal in 85-kg category at 21st Commonwealth Games with a total lift of 338 Kg in Gold Coast on 7th April

    Earlier, Weightlifter Sathish Sivalingam won India's third gold medal. In the process, the 25-year-old also retained the title he won in the event at the 2014 Games in Glasgow, Scotland with a total lift of 317 kg.

    In Men's Hockey match against arch-rivals Pakistan, all the excitement came down to the last seven seconds as the Indian team's perennial problem of conceding late goals left them with a disappointing 2-2 draw in their opening group fixture after leading 2-nil at half-time.

    In Badminton, India outplayed Mauritius 3-nil to advance to the semifinals of mixed team event.

    In Table-Tennis, Indian paddlers entered the semifinals in both men's and women' team events. The teams defeated Malaysia 3-0 in their quarterfinals.

    In Men's boxing, Mohammad Hussamuddin in 56 kg and Manoj Kumar in 69 Kg category have won in the 16 round events. In Gymnastics, Yogeshwar Singh finished 14th among 18 competitors in the men's individual all-round event final.

    India have so far won 4 Gold, One Silver and one bronze, and all the medals have come from the weightlifting arena. They were in the fourth place in the overall medal standings, as per latest reports.

    Persons in news:
  • Salman Khan convicted and sentenced to five years behind bars in the 20-year-old Blackbuck poaching case by a Jodhpur court
    Current Affairs Salman Khan convicted and sentenced to 5 years behind bars in the 20-year-old Blackbuck poaching case by a Jodhpur court

    Jodhpur Chief Judicial Magistrate Dev Kumar Khatri pronounced him guilty of killing two blackbucks, which are an endangered species and sentenced him to 5 years in jail in the 1998 blackbuck poaching case. He was also fined Rs. 10,000. The court acquitted Saif Ali Khan, Tabu, Neelam and Sonali Bendre and a local, Dushyant Singh.

  • Park Geuy-Hye:
    South Korea's former President Park Geun-Hye has been sentenced to 24 years in jail. She was found guilty of abuse of power and coercion. Park was also fined 18 billion won. The former leader was not in court for the verdict. The authorities allowed live broadcast of verdict citing extraordinary public interest in the case.
Published on 4/13/2018 12:06:00 PM